We have three beautiful children, one who is no longer with us. He was taken from us by a pedophile. That’s why it’s time to talk about child sexual abuse and exploitation.
We were parents leading a normal life when Daniel our 13 year old son was taken from a bus stop on the Sunshine Coast in December, 2003.
In that moment, our life before Daniel disappeared. We are not recognisable as the same people.
It's easy to sit here with a tear in your eye and feel sorry for yourself. But it's not helpful. You have to muscle up and do something positive and we have tried to do that. Not from the first day, but from the first week we did what we could do to help to make a difference to the investigation and to other kids.
That’s why the Daniel Morcombe Foundation is here to provide personal child safety education to children and young people. The Foundation supports young victims of crime and also provides educators, parents and carers with child safety resources and education.
Sometimes we think back and analyse what we used to be like, but we don't have an answer. Our whole life is now dedicated to assisting kids and victims of crime. Life is not always a fairy-tale and most families have a major trauma in their life at some point.
But there are people you can talk to, people who will help and hopefully lessen the burden of the harder points of life.
Now when we are asked, we speak up about child abuse issues and try to confront things head on. Child exploitation is not talked about as much as it should be, because people are often ashamed and uncomfortable. It makes people upset, people don’t like to think about this and think it’s a dirty subject to talk about.
But the upside is: Every voice does actually matter. Your story might help another child, or adult or friend or family member. Don’t forget, Perpetrators thrive on silence. By talking about this issue it makes it easier for all of us.
Finally, what do we do from here? Well, we would say…
- Know the signs.
- Listen and believe.
- Know what your children are doing online.
- Educate yourself and your children about personal safety.
Come on Australia, it’s time to talk about child sexual exploitation